Blizzard has found a way to exponentially grow their virtual in-game economy by making the tokens from World of Warcraft a heck of a lot more useful than they've ever been. The new update to the World of Warcraft currency isn't something that just applies to the MMO, though.
According to Polygon, Blizzard allows gamers to convert their gold from the popular MMORPG into tokens. What's so significant about tokens? Well, they can be used outside of World of Warcraft. In fact, they can be used in games like Overwatch to earn loot boxes.
Not only can you convert the gold into tokens that can be used in Overwatch, but they can also be used in Hearthstone as well. Essentially, the Battle.net currency will work for all of Blizzard's games. You can earn gold in World of Warcraft, convert the gold to tokens and then convert the tokens into Battle.net currency.
Polygon likens the move to the way CCP allows users to earn currency in EVE Online and use it to purchase things like additional game time by extending the subscription. In fact, you can do the exact same thing with the tokens... extending your monthly subscription for World of Warcraft in exchange for a set number of tokens.
This will likely see a boon in gold exchange rates, as more players attempt to get their hands on gold in order to convert them to tokens. Also, keep in mind that Blizzard also sells official gold packs from their cash shop as a way to cut out the gray market sellers and black market gold farmers.
In past years Blizzard had to battle against a lot of Chinese gold farmers, who had made an actual booming business out of selling gold in World of Warcraft. The black market racket peaked in 2012 with the release of Diablo III and the Real-Money Auction House, which put real-life, actual value to virtual items. The gold then took on a lot more economic weight because it could be used to purchase rare items and then resell those items on the RMAH. As you can imagine, there were all kinds of controversial stories popping up involving various laundering schemes, account hacks and money theft as scammers attempted to do everything within their power to game the system.
Blizzard put an end to the RMAH, but decided to evolve the process on how to make money based on virtual items by creating the token system in World of Warcraft. They put together a video explaining how the system works and how you can easily get your hands on more gold by spending $20 on a gold pack from the cash shop.
The video explains that whether you purchase a token from the auction house or convert gold to get a token, you can use the token to extend your World of Warcraft subscription by up to 30 days, or you can get $15 in Battle.net currency that can be used in other games.
It's a bold move that will likely see a lot of players putting in more time with World of Warcraft, especially if it means getting more loot out of games like Hearthstone or Overwatch.